Monday, February 9, 2009
My first Silk Fan Dance on Stage
It’s 3:54am in the morning. Suddenly woke up from my sleep, maybe too excited for the interview later so couldn’t get back to my dreamland. So here I am, with a sudden gush of ideas and stories to blog about regarding the topic assigned by Dr. Edwin last two weeks “Traditional Dances”.
What struck my mind earlier was the wonderful past recollection of my personal experience participating in a cultural traditional dance. Yes, do not laugh, I did make it on stage. Not out of natural gift to have dancing bones, but simply because of the reason “C’om, you are one of the rare Chinese in this cohort, we really need Chinese girls to dance for this Cultural Night”. So, as a love-to-try-new-things-out type of girl, together with another few friends, we agreed to take part in the Chinese-Mongolian fan dancing.
The interesting part is that there are 2 Malay guy friends who graciously volunteered to take part in this dance, as in be our partners-of-crime, I mean, partners-of-dance. They are namely Amirul a.k.a. Dramatic Queen and Sean, the tall one. Under the guidance of our Cohort 2 seniors, we have practice almost every afternoon after class. Oh, I forgot to mention, all these wonderful memories took place in our foundation year at Institute Perguruan Temenggong Ibrahim, Johor Bahru two years ago. The song was “Xuan Zhe” meaning “Choose”, it’s a duet song about a love couple who have make the ultimate choice and decision to fall in love for each other and decided not to have any regrets, but only happiness ever since. I find this song simply beautiful, how many of the married couples can actually take the vow of marriage to love each other for eternity. The rising of divorce rate in Malaysia does scare me. Well, I was told that it’s easy to fall in love, it’s easy to get married, but it’s a challenge to stay in love and make the marriage work. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
Ops, back to traditional dance. So, what is the rationale of Dr. Edwin to ask us to post a blog entry regarding traditional dance? All I can think of is 1) Relate to our schemata, it’s part of dramatization (to have the courage to be on stage performing a dance is not a piece of cake for me) 2) to enhance integration between races via cultural dance (oh yes, we do have a Baba Nyonya in this cultural dance). 3) to foster the co-operation between team members 4) to instill in us the beauty of cultural dance in which we should learn to appreciate our roots as well as respect other traditions.
Living in a multri-cultural society like Malaysia makes me realize the importance of not being a racist, but loving our friends of different skin colours. Only since I entered IPTI then do I have friends of different races other than Chinese. I had my first conversation with an Indian at maktab. Yes, it’s no joke because Indian is such a minority race in Sarawak. To cut things short, I think traditional dance is great well to help foster integration among races as well as a good idea for stage performance. Just like we should enjoy and appreciate reading literature, I think we should also enjoy and appreciate our culture and tradition. Before I end this entry, I would like to attach some some information I researched about Chinese traditional dance.
Chinese dance has its own unique lexicon, significance, and organized fabrication that provide a platform to dance up to its full extent and represents the thoughts and feelings with contentment and elegance.
Chinese Dance is classified into two parts-
The art of Chinese dance marks its origins around the 4th millennium BC. A study of ceramic artifacts with dramatized dancing figures foretells that people of the Neolithic Yangshao culture had choreographed group dances.
After the establishment of the Music Bureau during the Han Dynasty in the year 206 BC, continues efforts were made to develop the folk songs and dances in the country. During those days each regional group of China has its own folk dance forms. The Miao also known as Hmong people of southwestern China developed a lively form of submissive, singing and rival dances.
The inhabitant of Taiwan created handholding line dances as part of a harvest ritual. Folk dances showcase the lifestyles and customs of a people, though there are numerous folk dances, every dance is a precious and an ingenious part of China's rich cultural heritage.
Traditional Chinese Dance includes the stalwart Lion Dance with drum music, the spirited Ribbon Dance with long Silk Ribbons fabricating calligraphic designs in the air; as well as the exquisite Fan Dance mesmerized by spectators all over the world. The Art of Chinese Dance convoy the hue, extravagance and splendor of the Chinese culture all over the world.
The Prevalent Dances
The evolution of modern Chinese dance has taken up by zealous talents. Normally, young people undertake study ballet dance and modern dance initially, later on they study the procedure and linguistic rules of traditional Chinese dance.
Slowly the learners take over to the new Chinese style body expressions and movements with a challenging mind for experimentation. Since about 1970, the original and unique synthesis of young dancers has brought a reawakening in Chinese Dance and Drama.
Diversified Chinese Dances
Chinese Folk Dance
XingJiang Drum Dance, Taiwanese Folk Dance, Taiwan Aborginal Dance, Kung-Fu Fan Dance, Yunan Dai folk dance, Dunhuang Aesthetic Dance.
Traditional Chinese Dance
Dragon Dance, Feather Fan Dance, Traditional Chinese Ribbon Dance, Ribbon Dance, Silk Fan Dance, Sword Dance.
Chinese Modern Dance
Chinese modern dance is a unification of Live Music and Dance- The group of small children performs dance of “Nurture” in the age of 8 to 12 years. Dance of "Mother and Daughter" performed with live music.
Calligraphy Dance combined the art of dance and Chinese calligraphy presentation.